The Benefits of Outsourcing for Community Banks & Credit Unions
Today, community banks and credit unions are facing challenges on many fronts. The 2008 recession and slow recovery impacted business to an extent unprecedented in recent times. Perhaps more difficult are the many challenges posed to financial institutions by new IT technologies. And cyber security, fraud and money laundering are increasingly more common threats to banks.
All of these issues are related to trust. Customers need to know that they can have complete confidence in where they bank. In turn, banks must be able to trust the company they select for outsourcing bank functions.
Loss of control is a common fear about outsourcing in the banking industry. However, working with a company like PrintMail Solutions actually increases the amount of control a bank has over its operations. This is because an outsourcing company focuses on a small set of services and can invest in the latest technology to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible.
Many community banks, credit unions and other local service providers already outsource core administrative functions like payroll. Outsourcing bank operations increases savings on fixed costs and frees banks to focus on the specialties that distinguish them from competitors.
Some of the most common outsourcing solutions that community banks and credit unions seek—both to realize savings and to leverage expertise from specialists in these fields— include:
- Printing and mailing
- Website design and maintenance
- Cybersecurity and IT services
Of these services, PrintMail Solutions specializes in printing and mailing of bank statements, helping community banks and credit unions customize eStatements, and in various marketing services.
Bank Outsourcing Trends
Outsourcing in the banking industry is a growing trend. Rapid technological growth has been disrupting many industries over the last decade and banks are no exception. Driven by the need to stay flexible and adaptable in order to thrive, local banks turn to business process outsourcing (BPO) to save money and gain access to technologies, equipment and expertise they couldn’t otherwise afford. Outsourcing by banks also helps them stay compliant with regulatory laws that have increased in complexity.
Trusting Your Outsourcing Provider
A bank is nothing without the trust and confidence of its customers. Not surprisingly, it’s common for banks to fear outsourcing. Turning important bank services ranging from the printing and mailing of bank statements to cyber-security and IT over to an outside vendor requires a great deal of trust. Customer information must be kept safe under every circumstance in outsourcing arrangements.
Why should you trust outsourcing as the best option for your bank? To begin with, outsourcing providers are experts at what they do. Unlike hiring one or two employees to handle statement printing, processing, mailing, and marketing, for example, entrusting these services to an outside vendor means you have an entire company working for you whose sole purpose is to excel at these functions.
In addition to expertise, outsourcing offers a greater level of control and security for a bank’s most important and routine functions. PrintMail Solutions has an error-free rate of 99.9999%, which we maintain through online job tracking, redundant equipment, employee screening, physical security, and the latest equipment and technology in the field. Additionally, our four disaster recovery sites—located across the country to adequately cover every time zone—ensure timely delivery of services regardless of a man-made or natural disaster.
Bank Outsourcing Benefits
Banks can save 20% or more through outsourcing by purchasing the broad expertise of a company that has mastered the services they perform every day. Indeed, the everyday truism that “you can’t have it all” doesn’t necessarily always apply. For example:
- Outsourcing printing and mailing allows banks to save money on the costs of postage, equipment, and processing, making monthly costs predictable and avoiding the expense of long-term equipment leases and depreciation.
- Outsourcing marketing and website design/maintenance can also reduce your operating costs. Instead of hiring your own marketers and IT employees, let an outsourcing company optimize the design of your monthly statements, website, and other communication materials.
- When current and potential customers need financing to renovate their house, you want your community bank or credit union to be the first one they think of. An outsourcing company can use data-targeted marketing to make sure your bank’s messages and offers reach the customers who will be most interested in them.
- IT outsourcing for banks will help your business strategy as well as your bottom line. An outsourcing company with skilled IT professionals can take care of the daily work of running a website for you. They can also provide cutting edge techniques in cybersecurity to ensure that your bank’s data and customer information are safe from hackers.
In summary, outsourcing bank operations allows you to stay ahead of the competition without going broke paying for all of the necessary employees and equipment to do it on your own.
What Services Can My Bank Outsource?
Printing and Mailing
It’s not as easy as it sounds. The printing and mailing needs of banks are different from those of other businesses. A bank’s most important communication document is its monthly DDA and Savings account statement. In addition to helping customers reconcile their accounts, the statement is a platform for marketing messages.
A bank-focused outsourcing company can help you determine the best use for your marketing budget, from colorful inserts to accompany the statement, to offers printed on the outside of the envelope (we can’t ignore the reality that some customers will never open their statements).
In addition to DDA and Savings statements, banks communicate regularly with their customers through loan statements, daily notices, IRA statements, trust statements, tax statements, and one-time marketing mailings in regular or postcard formats. Regardless of the proportion of each kind of mailing you need to send out, outsourcing your printing and mailing needs makes it easy and reliable to deliver excellent customer service.
Wouldn’t you love to convert more of your customers to eStatements? It’s a great way to lower expenses and help the environment without degrading the customer service experience. The best way to drive digital conversion is to make eStatements more user-friendly than their paper counterparts.
Outsourcing your bank’s eStatements gives you access to the latest designs and technologies in the field, allowing community banks and credit unions to access a high level of innovation through this simple method of delivery. Best of all, you can choose the features that will be most appealing to your customers including unlimited storage of archived statements, sorting and account reconciliation functions, and a choice between HTML and PDF formats.
You also gain the ability to learn about your customers’ use of eStatements with administrative reports on end-user activity and notification and tracking of undelivered emails.
Custom Statement Redesign
While innovative eStatements are an essential part of today’s customer service experience, it’s also important to present an equally attractive paper statement. According to a recent report from the National Consumer Law Center, many customers still prefer to receive paper statements, particularly those who don’t have Internet access at home.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice. Plenty of customers desire an integrated paper and eStatement experience. Outsourcing this function allows your bank to meet its customers’ needs while optimizing its branding and marketing messages.
Appealing imagery and fonts make your offers more effective, and adding them to the statement itself instead of as a separate insert saves money as well as making it more likely your customers will read the messages you’ve created just for them.
With so much competition for consumers’ time and attention, the importance of successful marketing cannot be ignored by any business. Outsourcing your bank’s marketing gives you a professional marketing team at a lower cost than hiring one yourself.
In addition to combining print and digital marketing, you want to maintain a consistent brand image and message. Even small details such as choosing to print your logo in color or black and white on envelopes, or taking a double-window approach to the recipient and return addresses, make a difference in how customers view your brand image.
Other outsourced marketing services include special informational mailings such as policy changes, privacy notices, and regulation changes and updates; statement inserts and stuffers containing notifications about privacy policies, new branch openings, and ATM safety tips; and offers for credit services such as home equity and personal loans.
No business or institution is safe from the threat of hackers and data theft. However, taking proactive measures to protect your business and customers can provide stronger defenses against would-be attackers. IT outsourcing for banks empowers your business with a modern and user-friendly website that is also secure so customers can use your online banking services with confidence.
Possible services include basic IT maintenance and cyber-security, the control of secure access to information for customers and employees, and the ability to set quality standards for passwords, virus protection, and encryption of customer data.
Bank compliance outsourcing is another important part of maintaining your business’s integrity and security. Many banks prefer to outsource compliance reports both to utilize the objectivity of a neutral third-party auditor and to save on the cost of personnel and training needed to stay up-to-date with compliance standards.
If you choose to outsource your bank’s compliance and regulatory needs, you’ll be covered with services such as the development of an overall compliance plan and process descriptions, SOC reports, risk assessments and adherence to new and existing regulatory rules and laws.
The PrintMail Way
Once you’ve created a bank outsourcing policy for your business, how do you know which company will best service your bank’s printing, mailing, marketing, compliance and other important needs?
PrintMail has over twenty years of experience providing outsourcing services to community financial institutions. Our focus on the financial services industry allows us to give our customers the expertise, innovation, and quality control they need at a lower cost than they would spend to hire and train internal employees.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your financial institution save on costs and increase the quality of its customer service.